In 2000, at the turn of the millennium, the PlayStation 2 home console was released by Sony, and gaming was forever changed. By 2023, almost 160 million PlayStation 2 units were sold, making the console the most popular gaming device ever. There were more than 4,000 titles released on the platform, and today, we’re asking, ‘what was the best PlayStation 2 game ever?’
Was The PS2 The Best Console Ever?
It was estimated as far back as 2011 that more than 1.5 billion games were sold during the lifecycle of the PlayStation 2 – by that point. This was a platform that served as the foundation of many of the best-selling, most beloved franchises in history, and for the most part, the expansion of existing franchises that used the PlayStation 2’s processing power to grow.
In 2013, the last game to be released on the PlayStation 2 platform – Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 – debuted. It marked a closing point for the console, but to this day, it still sits in the homes of millions of gamers around the world. For some, it gathers dust, but for others, it’s a daily device, and the retro opportunities the console offers are near-unparalleled.
With all those sales – both consoles and software – the key question comes up – what was the best PlayStation 2 game ever?
The Best PlayStation 2 Game Ever, according to Metacritic
Metacritic is arguably one of the best platforms out there when it comes to rating video games. It’s an aggregate platform, meaning it brings together facts and figures from several sources online – or by rating a game by ‘user score’ – producing an average rating for more or less every game to ever have existed.
So, What’s The Best PlayStation 2 Game Ever, According to Metacritic
On the Metacritic rating page for all PlayStation 2 games, there’s a tie for first place. According to all the reviews compiled by Metacritic, the best PlayStation 2 game(s) ever are Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Grand Theft Auto III. They do say that three is the magic number, and that’s something that rings true in these rankings.
Together, both GTA 3 and THPS3 landed a metascore of 97, but admittedly, Grand Theft Auto III edges out THPS3 in user score, landing an 8.4 compared to THPS3’s score of 7.5.
So, we feel that’s enough to confirm that Grand Theft Auto III is, statistically, the best PlayStation 2 game ever.
But Which Games Come Next?
Here’s a ranking of the games that sit close behind Grand Theft Auto III and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.
3. Resident Evil 4 (96) – Completely rebuilt for 2023, Resident Evil 4 was one of the most widely-enjoyed zombie games to release on the PlayStation 2, expanding the iconic cult franchise of the same name.
4. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (96) – MGS2 was a monumental title, launching just a year after the PlayStation 2 platform debuted. It opened the door for further expansions of a beloved franchise that had existed since 1987.
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (95) – San Andreas is widely regarded as one of the best games in the history of the GTA franchise. It has been re-released numerous times, including as part of the Definitive Trilogy that dropped in 2021.
6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (95) – Another GTA title to make the top ten, Vice City was considered a classic PS2 game almost as soon as it launched. There’s speculation that GTA 6 – which currently has an unknown release date – will be set in a modern-day rendition of Vice City.
7. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (95) – This was the first Gran Turismo title to be released on the PlayStation 2, serving as an expansion to Sony’s flagship racing franchise. By today, it’s the second-best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time.
8. Madden NFL 2003 (95) – In 2002, IGN described Madden NFL 2003 as a ‘can’t-miss’ title, stating that it was ‘what football gamers are looking for.’ In a lengthy breakdown, CBR explained why the Madden NFL series essentially peaked in 2003.
9. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 (94) – Like the Grand Theft Auto franchise, THPS has more than one title that makes it into the top-ten PlayStation 2 games of all time. Following the release of THPS4, it would be thirteen years before a follow-up title was developed, with THPS5 dropping in 2015.
10. Devil May Cry (94) – Devil May Cry was the birth of a beloved franchise, taking place in 2001 and bringing hardcore and intense hack-n-slash action to the PlayStation 2 platform. Within the next twenty years, five more titles would be released, all working to establish Devil May Cry as a legendary series that started on the PlayStation 2.
Do You Agree With The Ranking?
So, that answers the question, ‘what was the best PlayStation 2 game ever.’ For the most part, the ultimate rating could be considered subjective. Out of 4000 games, everyone has their own favourite title, and for some, that title may not even break into the top 1000 games.
Let us know what you think the best PlayStation 2 game ever was.